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Clarken Racing | Clarken Racing News 53054 Ironclad Kicks Off Big Flemington Carnival For Clarken

Ironclad kicks off big Flemington carnival for Clarken

Ironclad kicks off big Flemington carnival for Clarken

Will Clarken is taking a big team across to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup Carnival and he's hoping to land a blow early with the talented Ironclad in the Group 2 Linlithgow Stakes on Saturday.

The South Australian trainer is expecting to have runners at three of the four iconic meetings with black-type performers Beau Rossa and Ironclad representing the stable on Derby Day.

Clarken said the latter is his best chance, the seven-year-old looking to collect the biggest win of his career, adding to the three Listed races already on his CV.

John Allen takes the ride from barrier 10 and the trainer is hoping Ironclad can produce a similar first-up performance to the one that saw him sprint brilliantly to capture the Listed Matrice Stakes at Morphettville in March.

"We've really taken note of that (win in the Matrice), he's an older horse who's got a few ailments and I think the time to really strike with him is first-up," Clarken said.

"I'm really buoyant about how Ironclad has come up. His coat hasn't been this good for a long time and he turned in a beautiful piece of work on Tuesday morning. He's in a really good way.

"Although it's a Group 2 and it's worth a lot of money, he's in a race that I think he can be competitive in."

Punters feel similarly, Ironclad firming from $15 to $12 with the TAB when markets opened.

The stable is less confident about the prospects of Beau Rossa, a $21 chance in the Group 3 Rising Fast Stakes.

Ben Melham will be in the irons and the instructions will be very straightforward.

"We'll be riding him ultra-conservatively – he got into some bad habits at the end of last prep," Clarken said.

"So we'll try to keep half the field in front of us and hopefully see him finding the line and that'll give us a good foundation for lots of good races to come.

"His problem is he's got that high handicap rating, wherever we run him first-up in a handicap, he's going to be big odds because he needs to carry the weight against good horses who are hard and fit."

Melbourne Cup day will be a big one for Clarken's stable apprentice Ben Price, who will make his Flemington debut on Second Slip.

The six-year-old was beaten 2.6 lengths when resuming in a Listed race at Caulfield earlier this month and boasts a strong second-up record with three wins and a third from five starts.

"He's come on really well from his run the other day, he's taken a lot of fitness from that," Clarken said.

Balaklava Cup and Seymour Cup champion Noname Lane is a chance to continue his sterling preparation in the Listed Furphy Plate on the first in November.

The six-year-old is coming off a last-start seventh in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap, finishing 2¾ lengths behind Tuvalu.

Meanwhile, globetrotter He's A Balter will resume on Oaks Day, his first run since having two starts at Meydan over the Dubai World Cup Carnival, for a second and a fourth in a Group 2.

"He's trialled up terrific the other day. He's an honest horse but he's got a high handicap," Clarken said.

"He's the toughest horse you'll find."

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